[Herald Interview] Yoon Kye-sang on playing the ordinary man

By 원호정

Idol-turned-actor says playing familiar characters is harder, requires more persuasion

  • Published : Dec 3, 2015 - 18:03
  • Updated : Dec 3, 2015 - 18:03

As a member of the sensationally popular band g.o.d, whose success peaked in the early 2000s, Yoon Kye-sang seems anything but ordinary. Yet somehow, ordinary is what many say he does best in his acting, which started after leaving the idol group in 2004.

“It’s because of my ordinary looks, and my ordinary body,” Yoon said at a group interview at a Seoul cafe on Tuesday. 

Yoon is good-looking, but in the scruffy boy-next-door way that lends him authenticity when he plays unglamorous but likeable roles. 

Yoon Kye-sang (Park Hyun-koo/The Korea Herald)

His true personality seemed to fit the part as well; throughout the interview, he often broke out into hearty laughs or buried his face in his hands out of embarrassment. 

Yoon’s authentic feel is what got him picked up for two movies this year: “The Unfair,” a legal drama that stirred up allegations of political pressure over its plot that hit a bit too close to real events, and “Love Guide for Dumpees,” a play-turned-movie about a man and woman who agree to be casual lovers but end up finding something more. 

In both films, Yoon plays a young man who has no money or educational pedigree, but tries to take on the world undaunted. He said that these “ordinary” roles were the hardest.

“You really have to think,” he said. “In dramas like ‘Last’ (a TV drama about kingpins in the underground economy) the plot is so big that all you have to do is follow along. But in order to be persuasive as the guy next door, you need to provide specifics that seem real. Every line has to come naturally, and you have to be detailed in your acting.”

According to Yoon, he and “Love Guide for Dumpees” costar Han Ye-ri practically rewrote all their dialogue to make the words feel more natural to them. “I didn’t touch the comedy, but the emotional scenes ... when Jeong-hun (Yoon’s character) is fighting with Si-hu (Han’s character), or he’s telling her he loves her ... those were all new lines.”

Luckily, says Yoon, it was easy to relate to the character of Jeong-hun, who represents “the loser inside every guy. He calls his ex-girlfriend drunk ... he has an intense inferiority complex, and he lets his pride get in the way of remembering what’s really important.”

Saying that Jeong-hun reminded him of his own younger self, Yoon said he hoped the movie would provide some support for viewers. “People these days give up a lot to avoid getting hurt, to survive. I hope they won’t do that ... I want to say: ‘Love is good, and it’s right now. Don’t throw it away. It’s hard to come by.’”

Looking to mark 12 years as an actor, he says he feels it’s time to change his image. “I liked stories about today’s generation, so I did them for a while, but I keep getting scenarios with similar characters,” he said. “I want to do something with a stronger character. Right now, my roles are all people you feel like you’ve seen somewhere, or you’d like to actually meet. Now, I want to try a character that’s a little less realistic.”

Yoon Kye-sang is currently preparing for end-of-the-year g.o.d reunion concerts, slated for Dec. 16-31 in Seoul, Daegu and Busan. 

His latest movie, “Love Guide for Dumpees,” opened in local theaters Thursday.

By Won Ho-jung (hjwon@heraldcorp.com)